SynGas2Ethen - Production of ethene from recycle streams and renewable carbon sources as a sustainable and economic way to basic materials of the chemical industry

Until now, the gaseous basic chemical ethene has only been produced from fossil resources. Now a new, climate-friendly technology pathway for the production of ethene will be developed by using industrial and biological carbon sources.

With an annual production volume of 150 million tonnes per year, the gas ethylene (ethene) is an important basic material of the chemical industry. Ethene is the most widely produced organic basic chemical and is needed, for example, for the production of polyethylene, ethylene oxide or styrene. Up to now, ethene has been produced almost exclusively from crude oil and other fossil raw materials.

For a sustainable, industrial production of ethene, new technology paths must be developed starting from industrial and biogenic carbon sources, i.e. from residues or biological origin. Within the framework of the BMBF-funded project SynGas2Ethen, such a technology pathway is to be transferred from the laboratory to industrial application. Furthermore, the project team will evaluate the ecological as well as economic conditions.

In a new approach, ethene is to be produced directly from synthesis gas, or syngas. Syngas is a mixture consisting mainly of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The project SynGas2Ethen will improve catalyst concepts and adapt the process for the new production method. It is essential to use only industrial residues or biogenic carbon sources for syngas production – since this is the only way to create a new solution for ethene production and thus a CO2-neutral chemical value chain.

A process simulation accompanying lab experiments forms the basis for a comprehensive analysis of the ecological impacts of the process and for calculating the techno-economic advantages of the new technology path.

A possible future saving of up to 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in ethene production (currently 7.2 million tonnes per year of CO2 equivalents) results in a greenhouse gas reduction potential for the technology path of 4.2 million tonnes per year of CO2 equivalents. Further potentials result from the material and energy integration into the network of chemical sites.

With the funding of SynGas2Ethen the BMBF is contributing to the step-by-step conversion of industrial chemical production to sustainability.

Project lead:
Prof. Thomas Ernst Müller
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Lehrstuhl Carbon Sources and Conversion
Universitätsstraße 150, 44801 Bochum, Deutschland
Tel.: +49 234 32 26680

Project coordination:
Dr. Berthold Fischer

Partial project lead:
M. Sc. Kai Laichter

Last updated on